Seventh Annual Meeting Within a Meeting Brings 40 Teachers to DC Area
Katherine Halvorsen, MWM Program Chair, and Rebecca Nichols, ASA Director of Education
The American Statistical Association sponsored a two-day Meeting Within a Meeting (MWM) statistics workshop for middle- and high-school mathematics and science teachers August 15–16 at the ASA office. Though the workshop is usually held in conjunction with JSM, it was held in partnership with the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) in the Washington, DC, area this year.
Forty middle- and high-school teachers, administrators, and mathematics educators attended the workshop that addressed statistical concepts taught in middle and high school. MWM emphasizes the growth of statistical literacy and thinking as teachers explore problems that require them to formulate questions; collect, organize, analyze, and draw conclusions from data; and apply basic concepts of probability. The follow-up program will include webinars and activities with the WSS.
The primary goals of MWM 2013 were to introduce middle- and high-school math and science teachers to the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Report: A Pre-K–12 Curriculum Framework and the statistical content of the Common Core Mathematics Standards (adopted by most states, including Maryland and DC) and Virginia State Standards, as well as provide an opportunity for teachers to discuss and apply these data analysis and statistical concepts. A secondary goal was to encourage cooperation between mathematics and science teachers in the teaching of statistics. The MWM program is designed to enhance educators’ understanding of statistics and provide them with hands-on activities they can use in their own classrooms to strengthen the teaching of statistics in their schools.
“One of the primary missions of the American Statistical Association is to work for the improvement of statistical education at all levels,” said Ron Wasserstein, the ASA’s executive director. “We are pleased to reach out to the K–12 mathematics and science community through the MWM workshop and follow-up activities,” he added. “MWM will not only enhance understanding and teaching of statistics concepts in the classroom, but also provide participants with a network of statisticians and educators to assist in developing the quantitative literacy of their students.”
The first MWM workshop was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2007 and focused on middle-school math and science teachers. Its success led Martha Aliaga, former ASA director of education and creator of MWM, to recommend expanding the Denver MWM workshop in 2008 to a two-day format that included separate strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers. MWM 2009 in Washington, DC, included parallel strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers on the first day with a field trip to the U.S. Census Bureau on the second day. MWM 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, was the first international MWM workshop jointly sponsored by the ASA and Statistical Society of Canada and included both U.S. and Canadian presenters and participants. MWM 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida, and MWM 2012 in San Diego, California, included separate workshops for middle- and high-school teachers focused on the statistics content in the Common Core State Standards. Additionally in 2012, MWM participants were able to choose to attend the International Census at School workshop for two additional days after MWM.
We are in the process of planning the 2014 statistics workshops for middle- and high-school teachers, which will be held in conjunction with JSM in Boston, Massachusetts. Do you know K–12 mathematics or science teachers who are interested in enhancing their understanding and teaching of statistics within their mathematics and science curriculum? If so, encourage them to register to attend the 2014 workshops.
The registration process will begin in March 2014, and further information about the workshops will be available at the ASA website. There are flyers about K–12 statistics education programs and resources to share with your local schools available at the bottom of the education page. Questions should be directed to Rebecca Nichols, ASA director of education, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 684-1221, Ext. 1877.
Each workshop day of MWM 2013 consisted of three sessions and a closing period. The workshop sessions were preceded by a brief overview of the GAISE report and Common Core and Virginia standards relevant to the audience. Sessions on Day 1 included formulating statistical questions and recognizing the purposes of and differences among sample surveys, experiments, and observational studies and how randomization relates to each; summarizing and describing distributions of measurement data, including a focus on understanding measures of center and spread and developing understanding of statistical variability; understanding statistics and the scientific method; and using random sampling to draw inferences about a population and comparative inferences about two populations. Sessions on Day 2 included investigating patterns of association in bivariate data, focusing on bivariate categorical data; using simulation to decide if results are statistically different; looking at free K–12 statistics education resources, including the ASA poster competition; and using randomization tests to make inferences and justify conclusions. The MWM program schedule is available on the ASA website.
The Washington Statistical Society sponsored the registration fees of the local teachers, provided a free one-year membership in the WSS, reached out to local school districts, and arranged for local representatives to attend the workshop to meet and eat lunch with MWM participants.
MWM Program Chair Katherine Halvorsen planned the MWM program, while ASA Director of Education Rebecca Nichols managed the website, registration and evaluation procedures, and logistics of setting up and advertising the conference in the Washington, DC, metro area. Mark Otto and Dhuly Chowdhury of the Washington Statistical Society reached out to local school districts to help spread the word, and members of the ASA/NCTM committee and the MWM speakers provided guidance.
MWM 2013 presenters included ASA/NCTM Joint Committee Chair Patrick Hopfensperger (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), past-Chair Jerry Moreno (John Carroll University), and Halvorsen (Smith College). Otto provided a lunch presentation regarding statistics and the scientific method, and Chowdhury welcomed attendees and explained the WSS sponsorships.
All teachers attending MWM were given a certificate of participation issued by the ASA. They also may receive one semester graduate credit hour through Adams State University. The ASA and WSS will provide follow-up activities throughout the 2013–2014 school year, including webinars that will continue to be archived at the ASA webinars page.